I count myself very fortunate in having a number of artists and craftspeople among my friends and neighbours. It's not only that they produce beautiful things, but I enjoy being able to see how the beautiful things that they produce derive from their rich experiences and express all sorts of layers within their lives.
Last night I went to the opening of an exhibition of prints by my very old friend Christina. She's called the exhibition 'Polyphonies' - many voices.
Christina settled in Australia after having grown up in Chile. She and her husband were caught here by the political events of the early 70s in Chile. Her work reminds me of the magical realism of South American literature of that time - lots of recognisable and apparently realistic images used in a symbolic 'magical' way. Some of the same images appear in different combinations across Christina's work - women in boats, women in boats in the sky, birds, music, indecipherable writing, kites, trees. I see in these images stories of journeying, of escape, of freedom, displacement, a search for harmony and order, of growth.
I also love the technique of Christina's work. Even though she's a printmaker, she doesn't use this process so much to make multiples of her work as she does to layer the same images in different ways and make uniquely different versions of the same images. Each of her prints has a carefully constructed multi-layered background for subtle colour changes and variations of the combinations of images. I also love the fact that Christina came to art quite late in her life after another career. All those images of change and growth and freedom echo her own experience.
Of course, I found it impossible to leave without buying a work I loved.
Christina's lately taken to making artist's books - carefully constructed and bound 'books' with intricately folded pages made from her etchings. I'm always captivated by such mixtures of traditional crafts and art.
This was the perfect way to spend an unexpected payment for an inadvertent public appearance. [Perhaps I should tell more of this, later].